How to Spot the New Face of Twitter Spam

by Angelique on August 6, 2012

A group of robot toysDoes it really matter you’re followed on Twitter by an army of bots? No, but here’s what does matter: the time you might waste thanking them for following you, adding them to lists, and checking them out to see if you want to follow them.

It used to be easy to identify the bots. Giveaways were misspelled names and avatars featuring ladies from the adult entertainment industry. Bot programmers are smarter now. They still like to create fake ladies, but these ones have ordinary personal names and unremarkably pleasant photos. Fortunately, there are some easy tells. Click the graphic to see a larger version:

Annotated illustration of a Twitter spambot account - original graphic by Angelique/AFMarCom


If you click on the @handle of a new follower and see a combination of the following, you don’t have to explore further:

1. A name and avatar of a pleasant yet ordinary woman you’ve never seen in a chat. She can be dressed casually or professionally.

2. No contact information of any kind.

3. Nothing but quotes or short, text-only statements.

4. Lots of retweets of sales pitches.

Don’t bother to “get to know” these ladies; they’re bots! If you don’t follow them back, they will disappear in a few days.

Do you have a quick and easy way to spot bots? Let me know in the comments!


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